WESLEY SNEIJDER: “INTER, I’M STAYING TO WIN EVERYTHING.”
Appiano Gentile – It is the beginning of a new era, the year zero for his experience at Inter. Wesley Sneijder is back in Pinetina after a forgettable season and a Euro of only disappointment. He is back more fired up with a great desire to win. He knows that many champions of that treble season have left Appiano Gentile and that Inter are now a team with young players than before but the feelings are positive. He has not had many chances to train with group but has already demonstrated flashes of class against Como, Celtic and Hajduk. Yesterday for the first time this season, he talked about himself, the great love that binds him to the Inter world, Stramaccioni, the desire to stay in Milan to raise other trophies, Mourinho, Balotelli, and coaches that he did not have a good feeling with. For half an hour sitting on a sofa in Pinetina, he talked about everything. “I want to start over, to win it all. At 28 years old, I cannot waste more time,” he told the Corriere dello Sport with the determined look of someone who feels that he is the leader on and off the field. As he is waiting to see if he could become captain of the Holland (“We’ll see what happens”), Wesley Sneijder is ready for a new challenge at Inter. In short, Sneijder is back.
Sneijder, how are you in this great shape after over a month of vacation?
“I wanted to start over and do well with Inter. I did not like anything from last season and at the Euro, with Holland, I did not play well. At 28 years old, I want to give my best in order to win all. I cannot waste time.”
Your first impression on this new Inter after the games against Celtic and Hajduk Split?
“The team has changed a bit and is no longer the Inter of 2010. Comparing to two years ago, many good players have arrived here but they are also young. Even the coach is new and I like his formation and the way he coaches football matches. Together, we aim to win.”
So different vibe/atmosphere this time around at Inter?
“Yes because things have changed over the past years. I see a nice mix of experienced and young players. We will do well.”
Have you ever thought of leaving Inter this summer?
“No because I am a person that does not focus too much on the future. Doing so is useless because no one knows what can happen. I am an Inter player and I am not thinking about leaving. If I get some good offers and I like them then we’ll see… Currently I don’t have anything and do not even want to leave. My desire is to win it all here and to give great satisfaction to the president, directors and fans.”
A big offer from Russia, however, was delivered a few weeks ago…
“Right now everyone knows what teams in the world have the money and perhaps one of those club will make an offer. 3-4 years earlier then I could think about it but at my age, no. I am a player of Inter and won’t leave only for the money. I want to win here. I do not deny that money is important but it is not everything. I prefer to play in a great team like Inter.”
How do you feel about your involvement in this new Inter project?
“I am much involved and you can see that on the field. I want to have a spectacular year.”
What ratings would you give to each of the past three seasons at Inter?
“In 2009-2010, the treble season, I would say a 9. Not a 10 because Holland lost in the World Cup final. In 2011-2012, the season of the Club World Cup, a 7.5. Last year, no more than a 5.”
Last season, the one that you want to forget, the relationship with Gasperini and Ranieri was not idyllic?
“I like to play as a trequartista, not in other roles. If in a month Stramaccioni comes to me and says that he wants to put me on the left then I will play on the left: no problem. I will adapt because I know we have the same mentality. We see football the same way. The other coaches (he seems to refer mainly to Gasperini) made me play in different roles and in football if one is a trequartista, he cannot play as a left winger or as a central midfielder. With them (here, he seems to also talk about Ranieri), I never had any personal problem on the human level but there was no feeling on the field. And I admit, perhaps, a bit of the blame could be mine because I was told to play behind and I, wrongly, tended to go forward often.”
How has Stramaccioni won you over?
“I like his football. During training, we always work with the ball, like the Dutch mentality. Stramaccioni is young, wants to win and always searching for the best game plan, something that I like a lot. I have confidence in him in this first full season working with professional footballers. I trust him and I think we will have a great season because he is great.”
What do Strama and Mourinho have in common?
“Strama knows how to manage relationships with the players as you must speak with each individually. Mourinho is great at this, but our coach is very good.”
In Spain, they wrote that Mourinho wants to bring you back to Madrid…
“I already have Mourinho’s twin here at Inter. I often hear from Jose on the phone and I am happy this way.”
Sneijder, you scored a goal in your first official game of the season: an important sign for this new 2012-2013 season?
“To me, a goal isn’t worth anything if we don’t go to the next round on Thursday or if we don’t qualify for the Europa League group stage. Scoring goal gives me moral but the team is what matters.”
How much will you miss the Champions League?
“So, so, so much… Those Champions League matches are the best ones.”
What does it mean for you to play in the Europa League?
“That means that we did not make the Champions League but we are facing a competition that we must win.”
Can Inter go for the title or it is more realistic to concentrate on qualifying for the Champions League the year after next?
“I want to win. Always. We never play to finish second or third. For this reason, I would say that we can and must win the league.”
Are Juve unreachable or not?
“I do not like talking about others. I only think about working well and get as many points as possible.”
What did you think when you saw that Milan sold Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic?
“I understand why such deal was concluded because PSG are building a great team, have a good project and Paris is a beautiful city. At the same time though, I dislike that two champions like Ibra and Thiago are no longer in Serie A.”
How do you respond to those who argue that Sneijder is the last top player remains in our league?
“In Italy there are many good players and I do not think about myself as top player. I will never say that even if I like the compliments.”
Inter are looking for a midfielder, would you recommend your countryman De Jong?
“Yes because he is a good player. I have known him for 7 years. We grew up together and I can assure you that he is crazy, but in a good sense. If the game is in 20:30 in the evening, he would wake up at 8 in the morning and all day, he would be thinking about how to win and give his best. On the field, he always plays with heart and if he comes here, I would like it very much.”
Already called to convince him?
“If phone calls were enough…”
Inter have also been linked to Afellay. Is he ready for Italy?
“Good players can do well around the world and in all competitions. He is a good player and person. In Barcelona, he is in difficulty because he plays little and being young, you always want to be on the field. Certainly he is one that has quality and I hope he makes the right decision for the future.”
Will Van Persie choose Juve or stay in England?
“I don’t think he’ll be here in Italy. He likes the Premier League too much and I read that he might as well stay at Arsenal.”
Lucio went from Inter to Juve. You would never go from Real Madrid to Barcelona or leaving Inter and go to Juve or Milan?
“In football, you never know what can happen. I will never say that I will not go to a certain team. Lucio has chosen Juve and let’s see if that’s a good decision or not.”
The betting scandal here in Italy…
“I am sorry for what I read but I prefer not to think about it. At the end of August the season will start and I hope that then all the trials will end and we will only talk about football.”
Are you surprised at the Euro that Mario Balotelli had?
“He has done well with Italy and it is not easy because he has so many eyes on him and a lot of pressure. Against Germany he played great and I am sorry that he lost the final. He is a great man and a great player.”
Maintain a good relationship with Mario?
“Yes and we talked often when we found each other on vacation. I was in Ibiza with my wife and he was with his friends. I always tell him that he should stop making trouble.”
Gullit, Van Basten, Rijkaard all wrote their history with Milan, Sneijder is doing the same at Inter. There is always feeling between the city of Milan and Holland…
“To me, and especially my wife, we really love this city. We have a house in the center and can see the Duomo. We are fine here and as a matter of fact, I am going to see the Olympics. Yolanthe is waiting…”
Source: Corriere dello Sport